NY Times faces backlash over Wordle changes

(NewsNation Now) — It isn’t five letters, but “backlash” may be the latest word for The New York Times after it purchased the viral puzzle game Wordle.

Some users have complained the puzzles have become increasingly difficult to solve.

“It kind of takes the fun out of it. I don’t know how much longer I’ll play it if the words are getting this much harder. Like before, it was kind of like, OK, it’s like a minute to five-minute game,” said Wordle player Taylar Page.

The Times, which has popular word games such as Spelling Bee and its crossword puzzle, said “at the time it moves to The New York Times, Wordle will be free to play for new and existing players, and no changes will be made to its gameplay.”

Wordle was created by Josh Wardle, a Brooklyn software engineer. He originally made it for his partner, but released it to the public in October. On Nov. 1, only 90 people had played it. Within two months, that number had grown to 300,000 after people began sharing their scores on social media.

Now, the simple puzzle that lets players guess a five-letter word in six tries with no hints, has millions of daily players, The Times said. It’s also become a viral online phenomenon, spurring copycats such as “Airportle,” in which the player guesses airport abbreviations, and “Queertle,” with words for the queer community.

To play Wordle now, players have to visit its website. Simply type in a five-letter word. If any letters turn green, you got the right letter in the right place. Yellow letters mean right letter wrong place and gray letters mean they are not in the word of the day.

Wordle’s appeal has been in part due to its simplicity. There are no bells and whistles or ads or asking for an email address to play — just a website with 30 blank squares and a keyboard. Some apps have tried to piggyback on its success, confusing people who downloaded — or even paid for — apps on their phone thinking it’s the original Wordle.


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